Towards Understanding South Africa’s Differing Attitudes to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Open Governance Partnership
The paper undertakes a critical assessment of the various motivations behind South Africa’s active participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP), as a contrast to the country’s notable absence from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Indeed, although the South African government is one of the eight pioneering states to have officially launched the OGP on 20 September 2011, it is not a signatory to the EITI, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in 2013. How has the South African government justified its absence from the EITI so far, and what do these justifications mean for its participation in the OGP? The paper focuses specifically on developments regarding access to information in South Africa – namely the Promotion of Access to Information Act – and their implications for the country’s attitudes towards global transparency initiatives. The paper also considers the ways in which the South African government’s discourses, practices and contrasting approaches vis-à-vis these two multilateral transparency frameworks hold relevance for access to information in the country’s extractive resource sector. It suggests that the South African government may be more responsive to EITI-membership appeals if it perceives that its aspirations as an emerging power, both regionally and globally, are better acknowledged.